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CONSUMPTION & PRODUCTION

Waste is a systemic problem; simultaneously cause and result of many global challenges. Waste provokes environmental degradation yet is the long-lasting legacy of the prevailing linear economic model. Can we move beyond waste ? This implies a substantial transformation of our consumption habits and production methods.

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ECOSYSTEM AWARENESS

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are spurring a new wave of collaborative action linking business, government, academia and civil society (quadruple helix model). They openly collaborate in order to support concrete initiatives and develop innovative solutions that tackle global challenges by taking local action.

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CIRCULAR ECONOMY PROTOTYPES

Global natural resource depletion and climate disruption point to the increasing obsolescence of extractive, linear economic models. At the leading edge of innovation are business models that are environmentally regenerative and socially responsive, new regulations and policy frameworks, alternative narratives and more.

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SYSTEMIC CHANGE

Stakeholders based in Geneva and Lausanne are in a unique position to become a world reference in terms of collaborative innovation in Sustainable Living (SL). We define SL as an approach to social and economic activities, for all societies, rich and poor, which is compatible with the preservation of the environment, social well-being for all and contributes to good governance.

What do we expect from this lab?

Find out all our answers in the Co-Creators section

Social labs have three defining features:

  • Social – they bring together a diversity of stakeholders who are affected, directly or indirectly, by the challenge at hand;
  • Experimental – it uses methodologies that drive innovation through learning-by-doing, trial-and-error & iterative processes;
  • Systemic – it aims to address the root causes of problems rather than providing solutions to symptoms.
    Hassan, Z. (2014). The Social Labs Revolution. Brussels: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

We thus expect to step outside our comfort zone to try a new way of being and approaching problems. Also, to build relationships and collaborate with people vastly different than ourselves, and prototype together solutions linked to water, plastic and electronic waste for a specific sector of the Vaud economy. Through our cross-sectoral leadership approach, solutions will be carried forward and involve wider public participation. Our aim is systemic change.

Find out more about System Leadership here.

While we cannot predict the results of this process with exactitude, we view this as regenerating different types of capital which are necessary for circular economy transformation, including natural, social and financial.

The innovations generated by social labs flow from at least four sets of outputs: physical capital (new services or infrastructure), human capital (new capacities and skills), social capital (increased trust and collaboration), and intellectual capital (new knowledge and learning). These forms of capital, if produced in sufficient amounts, can change complex social systems. For an analogy, think of a research lab that produces multiple outputs, such as new drugs or surgical techniques. These increase the probability that patients will survive.

Zaid Hassan, 2014